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Six "Hail Mary's" seven "Our Father's" and a nice glass of Chianti


Hello my fellow comrades. We don't know each other yet, but I hope some of my blog and my thoughts on living with AIDS will connect with some part of you. I'm new to the blogging world, as I'm "technologically challenged". If you're over the age of 45 as I am, you remember that there was a time, not so long ago, without internet, cell phones, cable TV or remote control.

So, here I am about to share some of my life and bare my soul with complete strangers. I'm both terrified and thrilled. But, when I was asked to do this, I figured, "what the hell?" Living with AIDS has taught me that nothing can be achieved without taking a risk. Sometimes, you fall flat on your face. That doesn't bother me too much. I've fallen flat on my face so many times I can't even count them. Sometimes, I had to crawl and sometimes, I just wanted to just lie there and wallow in my own misery. But those times didn't last long. There is a certain freedom of living in the moment now and taking risks. When you've already faced death and survived, the rest of the terrifying stuff seems small and trivial.

I'll give you a little background about me, so you know where I'm coming from. I'm what they call a "long term survivor". I was infected with HIV at the magnificent age of 23. I'm 46 now, which means that exactly half of my life - and my entire adult life has been spent fighting the good fight. I would not have chosen this for myself for sure, but since I've been handed this deck of cards, I'm playing it as best as I can. You can't go back, so I'm stuck with me. I've grown to know myself and realize that one must change, adapt to new situations and evolve in order to survive. I guess Darwin was right. I've evolved and so has my virus.

Back in '85, AZT was not even available. I was told that I had five years to live by my doctor, the "best" ID doc in my town. I actually believed him and was at his mercy for the next 12 years thinking that he would "save" me. I finally realized that no one can save me. I must save myself or at least try my damnedest. I will not "go silently into the night". It takes a bit of luck, a good doc you can trust and who doesn't have an ego bigger than Zeus. Of course, a few cloves of garlic hung from your neck to keep the vampires away and six "Hail Mary's" and seven "Our Father's" can't hurt. (Catholic girl here)

Hopefully by now you may have figured out that I either have a wicked sense of humor or am completely insane. You are correct. It helps to be a bit mad and a good sense of humor, an appreciation of irony, trust in destiny and my good friends "hope" and "faith" gets me through the day. That, and a nice, smooth glass of Chianti.

I'll do my best to be honest and hope that I can connect with your spirit, your sense of humor and your common sense ... or lack of it. Because sometimes it takes a big risk to divulge and explore your inner self in order to rise above the pain, the despair, the constant disappointments and the sheer terror of living with AIDS.

About me - I pull no punches. I throw them. I'm the kinda girl who says it like it is. I try to be as kind as I can, but sometimes it takes a kick in the gut and someone to tell the truth to make you stand up and deliver. I try my best not to be rude. But I admit that most people don't like to hear it straight. So, I'm working on my delivery. Sometimes it hurts to tell the truth and I feel the pain and sometimes suffer the consequences. But I must speak the truth, even if it works against me.

So, here it goes -- my new journey of blogging about living, dying and surviving a long time with AIDS.

We're all faced with life and death decisions, and it's no coincidence that I'm starting this blog at the cusp of one of the most important elections of our time. Politics has given me a reason to keep fighting ... against discrimination, ignorance, ideology and the bad polices of this administration (and others) that have fueled this disease for far too long. I realized that the only way to survive was to learn how policies are made and what must be done to change them. There's a lot of talk about Iraq, but what about AIDS? What is the next President going to do to address the issue of AIDS in the USA? Where does he stand on this topic? Does he think that the "free market" will take care of us? Does he think that insurance companies will "compete" to cover us for our astronomical health bills? I don't know about you, but Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Aetna are not "competing" with each other to cover me. What about PEPFAR? (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) Do the candidates want to cut funding if it includes "family planning" rather than "abstinence"? These questions must be asked and no one is asking them. Where is the outrage? Have we gotten so brainwashed and become so complacent, self absorbed and lazy that we don't even want to keep our elected officials accountable? Where is the media on this issue? Where are WE on this issue? Do we really care enough to make our voices heard? These are issues that matter most to me.

I'll end this entry with some words from a song by Bruce Springsteen, my favorite singer, musician, songwriter, philosopher and political activist.

"Well now everything dies, baby that's a fact. But maybe everything that dies, someday comes back. Put your makeup on. Fix your hair up pretty. And meet me tonight in Atlantic City."


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Comments on Annette Lizzul's blog entry "Six "Hail Mary's" seven "Our Father's" and a nice glass of Chianti"

There are much bigger and important issues at this time. The media has created a very depressing atmosphere,where everyone is miserable,constantly building the dream that government and Obama can save us all. In truth,as you stated in relationship to your Dr.,only you can help you and better your own lot in life. To look to government for solutions is hopeless,since it is government created problems that have created this atmosphere of depression and misery in the greatest country on Earth. The government, both parties, corrupt Dems and gutless Reps created a mortgage and housing crisis. Funny to see how many Dems were getting lower that market mortgages from Countrywide Mortgage as Fannie Mae bought every crummy and fraudulent loan that Countrywide sold. A couple of Reps tried to stop this and regulate Fannie but Barnie and the gang of Dems bribed with cheap mortgages by Countrywide would not permit new regs and we have a crisis that has left thousands homeless and our financial institutions ruined. No one has gone to jail.
Then we have the government created high oil prices. The price of oil would implode tomorrow if Dems and Reps would just announce drilling in Anwar,offshore,and government lands. But our own government for some unknown reason(start looking for offshore banking accounts)support this high oil price. Since the Dems have taken over Congress the price of crude has almost doubled and so has nat gas. Why? Because Dems have made it known they will not allow any new production on US lands and will instead tax oil companies. Lunacy? Idiocy? Why would these people want to destroy our economy? Who knows. I could never figure out why these same scoundrels would not regulate Fannie Mae and mortgage industry,now we find out 6 democrat leaders were bribed with cheap mortgage rates. Who knows if they are getting bribed by corn farmers ,adm, ethanol producers or hedge funds long energy? Now you are looking to these same scoundrels to run our medical or insurance system?

Our government is broken at every level. It has created a huge class of people dependent on government programs that can not be financed no matter how much you tax the producers. A dependent class of people who do not ask "what can I do for my country" but "what can my country do for me".
Your only hope for government aid is for our own economy to rebound. Its tough to get government money when tax receipts are falling at every level because of the government induced recession. We need our own government to let private enterprise drill for oil,build refineries and build nukes.
Now you are looking to these same scoundrels to run our medical or insurance system?
Just got back from two weeks in Europe,there were demonstrations everywhere for lower taxes on everything. Funny to see Europe trying to climb out of the grasp of socialism and the US rushing toward it.

Why did "Jack" put his rant here? Man, it seems every time someone reads "Atlas Shrugged" they have to find every crevice to push their short sighted agenda. Yawn.

Hello Annette,
It is nice to hear from someone who is in my shoes, so to speak. I was infected at the ripe age of 19, I'm 42 now. So if my math is correct we were both infected around the same time . . . 1985!?! Similiar to you, after my diagnosis, I was told I had three years to live. Thank goodness I am rebellious and I don't listen to others!

You ask a lot of complicated questions that I would love to know the answers to. I guess over the years I have become complacent and lazy at times. Up until now it has been difficult if not impossible to find federal funding for "family planning". Abstinence only has been the norm and "Congress and the Bush administration have pushed "abstinence only" sex education in schools. But many states have refused federal funds for a program, they say, doesn't work." There have been many studies that prove "abstinence only" programs do not work. Hopefully, soon, we will begin to see changes at the state level but it is also important to fight for changes at the Federal level.

I am currently working on my MPH, Masters in Public Health and I have a MSW, Masters in Social Work. I hope to work at a nationally level once I graduate in regards to safer sex education . . . Time will tell.

I enjoyed reading your blog. Take care.


Hi Annette,

I enjoyed reading your blog. I'm 42 and like you I'm a long term survivor. I was diagnosed in 1989 and told I had 2 years to live - that was 19 years ago. I got through it all with lots of semi-denial, and generally avoided the self-help groups as way, way, way too depressing for me - no offense to anyone, but I found that misery does indeed love company! All the very best to you, and I look forward to reading your future blogs.


Hi Annette!!! :) so glad of knowing you. I am not a long term survivor... but i hope i will be.... i really hope so.

I just like to read blogs from people like you who have achieved what is my goal... to survive this f*ing shit enough to be able to see changes. I, like you have developped some black humour after the news :), your post made me smile... and inspired me. Thanks a lot.

Pity i am sort of crying in from of my PC in my office.... well... over here none knows about me and my secret, just my friends and close family. Just wanted to say "Welcome and so glad of meeting you!!"


Hello Annette,

Jack use to be a member of AIDSMEDS before he was banned for hijacking threads with his particular brand of politics. It's tediously the same over and over again. If you notice he basically posted the same thing in a response to one of Peter Staley's blogs. Don't waste your time responding because he'll just regurgitate the same nonsense. He doesn't even believe what he posts, it's just some weird psychological tonic he uses for his own anger and guilt.

Jack's married with children but carries the immense guilt of having been infected by having sex with men. He' gay. I'm not telling any secrets, all this information can be found in the forums. Do a quick search of "Jack" in the forums if you really want to get a cut of the man's jib. It won't take you long to understand him.

I thought I would cut to chase for you concerning Jack. I'm a ardent supporter of the first amendment but you're wasting time trying to discuss any topic with him. He hates strong women (usually he blames Hillary) and will hijack your well meaning posts with his warped view of the world. Just delete his comment and move on.

I thought you needed to know.

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This page contains a single entry by Annette published on June 16, 2008 8:21 PM.

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE IDEOLOGY! is the next entry in this blog.

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